The head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime has denounced celebrity drug users for helping to glamorize and fuel a cocaine trade that he says is contributing to state failure in Africa.
In Sunday's issue of Britain's Observer newspaper, Antonio Maria Costa criticized the drug habits of, in his words, "coke-snorting fashionistas." He said celebrities who flaunt their drug use are helping to fuel cocaine trafficking from South America through Africa to Europe.
Costa praised the humanitarian work of musicians Bono and Bob Geldof, but he said celebrities such as supermodel Kate Moss and singer Amy Winehouse are undermining their efforts with what he called careless "drug habits."
A spokesman for Winehouse, Chris Goodman, dismissed Costa's comments, saying his client has had problems, but has never flaunted drugs and is trying to get better.
Costa also warned that the demand for drugs could bring about the collapse of some West African nations where he said corrupt governments are vulnerable to the influence of drug money. He said the drug trade could eventually hurt Africa as much as slavery in the 19th century did.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.